The countryside champions

Press Release: 22nd May 2012

Hampshire market town first to do independent food study

Project launch

Luanch of project at Josie's Coffee House, Bishop's Waltham

A 'toolkit' produced by the Campaign to Protect Rural England is being used by the Bishop's Waltham Society to facilitate an independent study to quantify, for the first time in the UK, the effects on the local food web of a new supermarket built close to a market town centre.

The study will record the local food web before and after the new superstore commences operations. The results of the two phase project, to be launched in Bishop's Waltham on Tuesday, 22nd May, will be made available to interested parties in the county and around the UK to show the positive and/or negative effects that may be uncovered.

A food web is a local network of links between people who buy, sell, produce and supply food. A thriving local food chain can benefit the quality of life, prosperity and landscape of an area. The new study will uncover issues and propose solutions for action by local authorities, businesses, community groups and residents to enhance the local food economy and help independent traders to thrive.

This project aims to build a clear picture of how Bishops Waltham's local food web works; the scale of local food retailing; the range of food being sold; the benefits that providing and selling more local food could bring to suppliers and retailers and to identify any obstacles that may exist. The exercise should offer potential, tangible benefits to the local economy.

The advantages to local food producers and retailers includes, based on previous experience, improved profitability and greater exposure to external supporting organisations (e.g. Hampshire Fare) as well as widening their customer base.

The study is being organised by the Bishop's Waltham Society with support from CPRE Hampshire and the county food group, Hampshire Fare. It will have two distinct phases: the first being a nine-month long survey process, starting now, undertaken by volunteers with retailers, food/drink producers and townsfolk. The second survey period will be organised a year or two later, when the store is firmly established within the community.

Anthony McEwen, director of CPRE Hampshire said:

"This will be an objective, independent assessment and is the first time that it will have been done by a market town, in advance of and after the creation of a brand new supermarket close to a town centre. We are looking forward to documenting the current local food web, seeing the new store integrate into the community and then documenting how the food web has changed over time."

Tony Kippenberger, chairman of the Bishop's Waltham Society, added:

"With the future of the town continually changing, we want to help people to keep the pleasures of choosing local shops, local suppliers and local provisions. We believe the results will vastly increase our understanding of the local food webs that are in place, and provide us with ways to support traders and suppliers in the local economy."

- Ends -


Notes to editors

1. The Project is being launched at Josie's Coffee House, 6-8 High Street, Bishop's Waltham, SO32 1AA from 9.30am on Tuesday, 22nd May 2012.

2. CPRE Hampshire is a small charity based at Martyr Worthy near Winchester. Its members strive to promote the beauty, tranquillity and diversity of the Hampshire countryside by the sustainable use of land and other resources in town and country, and encouraging the biodiversity and well-being of rural communities.

For all media enquiries, please contact:
Keren Burney, media & communications officer, CPRE Hampshire
Tel: 01730 894123   Mobile: 07876 780065

For information on CPRE, please contact:
Anthony McEwen, Director, CPRE Hampshire
Tel: 01962 779185   Mobile: 07717 296025



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